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September 4, 2006

Lleyton Hewitt

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Blow out some cobwebs.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Could say that. I don't know. Would have preferred to finish it in three and been done a couple hours ago.
But you just never know what's around the corner. Yeah, even though I won the first two sets, they were still tough sets. We traded service breaks quite a few times in both those sets. Through the third set, you know, he was starting to serve a lot better. He was getting through service games a lot cheaper out there. You know, at 5 4 down, I, you know, got up 40 Love. He played a great game to come back. He sort of slashed at a few shots, then that sort of you know, he got on a bit of a roll early in the fourth. Turned into another fight.

Q. Must have been pretty confident going into the fifth set. Got a pretty good five set record?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I've got a good five set record. That was obviously in the back of my mind. I haven't lost a five set match for a few years now. But you can't rely on that. Once you get out there, you got to focus on what you've got to do. It was important getting that first service game under my belt. You know, it was the first set tonight out of the five that I was actually serving first, so I wanted to try to get that early lead and try and, you know, hold it for the rest of the set.

Q. Is it a bit disconcerting when he calls for the trainer, looks like he's not in good shape, then suddenly he's like a rabbit out there, running everything down. You tried a couple dropshots, he was unbelievably quick.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's tough in that situation 'cause, you know, obviously in the back of your mind you're focus you know that something's not quite right a hundred percent out there with him. But, you know, then again, he was hanging in there and running down a lot of points. You know, my first matchpoint, I couldn't have made him run any more than I did, and he came up with an unbelievable passing shot.
So, you know, it's a lot easier said than done, but you've got to try and focus on going out there and executing and worrying about your game.

Q. Do you think, you know, you've had this incredible run here, quarters or better now, seven straight years. Is this in some ways the most sort of impressive one because of the fact that you're not a hundred percent?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, yeah. It's up there, I guess, yeah. You know, obviously winning in 2001, you know, and beating a guy like Sampras in the final, it's hard to beat that.
But this year, you know, not sort of having the runs on the board the couple of weeks leading in when I made a final a couple years ago I had a great run going coming into the tournament so I sort of knew where I stood and, you know, how well I was hitting the ball coming in. Whereas this year, it was a huge question mark, you know, not knowing if I would be able to even play the first match, let alone last the two weeks.
So I've put myself in another position here, and, you know, got to try and take it when they come.

Q. Obviously, Andy has changed his form around. Very, as you said earlier today, very poor first six months of the year for him. He's got Jimmy Connors in his camp. How much do you think that that's helped him, and also talk about the match.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Uhm, yeah, I don't know. You know, obviously, Jimmy will come with a few different ideas, I guess, than he's probably had in the past. Obviously listening to someone that he and everyone respects so much, as well.
Uhm, you know, I think Andy, you know, obviously he's won a few matches in a row now. You know, especially struggling, he struggled through the first couple matches in Cincinnati. Won 6 in the third and probably should have lost in the first round there.
It's more when you get those wins under your belt to try and keep rolling with it. Obviously, he's been able to do that. He had a tough match yesterday with Verdasco, a talented left hander, and, you know, I've got to step it up another notch. I definitely know what to expect.

Q. And in terms of your knee, I mean, there were a couple of times out there when it looked like you were stretching, you went to your right side and it might have jarred.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, no, I felt it a little bit out there the whole time. It's sometimes worse than others, but when I see the other guy cramping up the other end, it's a matter of that gives you a bit of an extra boost, as well.

Q. Does your winning record over Roddick give you a little bit of added confidence?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really. You know, at this stage, we haven't played for a while. So it's more I think both of us are in the same boat in a lot of ways. We both know what to expect from one another's games. We've played enough times. We've played enough big matches, as well.
I think at the end of the day it's going to be who can execute well on Wednesday, and who does that best is gonna win.

Q. What about the crowd? Probably won't have too many friends in the stands.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, I've played a few big name Americans here over the years. I know what to expect.

Q. Do you think he's doing anything differently under Connors?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's hard to really know at this stage. I haven't seen, you know, enough of him here. I don't think there's a whole heap different, I can't see from some of the matches that I've seen, the last couple of tournaments that I've seen him play. But this week I haven't seen enough to really know.

Q. Just a matter of maybe confidence?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, I think so. If you win a Masters Series week before a Grand Slam, you're gonna have a bit more spring in your step. He was able to, as I said, get through a tough match early on in that tournament. He obviously got better and better. He beat good players in the quarter, semi, and final there.

Q. Does a long five setter have any impact on your knee at all?
LLEYTON HEWITT: You know, I hope not. Hope not. We'll see what happens.

Q. How is it feeling?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it's not too bad.

Q. How does this change your routine now? Obviously, you probably won't get to sleep until 5 o'clock or something. What does it do to tomorrow and the way you'd normally have the in between day?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, well, you know, I'll obviously try and get as many hours of sleep as possible. You know, at this stage I'm probably banking on I assume we're probably going to play Wednesday night. That's my guess.
So at least being probably another night session probably got me on that same routine a little bit for the next couple of days. Obviously, tomorrow, see how the body's feeling. May have a light hit later in the day. But, you know, take it easy for most of the day and just chill out and do everything possible to feel as good as possible, I guess, you know, come Wednesday.

Q. Do you travel with your own physio?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not here at the moment, no.

Q. You come in here to get some treatment tomorrow likely?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, yeah. I'll get some, whether it's here or at the hotel.

Q. Do you have a preference, I mean, you prefer the nights?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It doesn't worry me. You know, it's a great atmosphere, you know, at night, obviously, being the feature match. Doesn't really worry me.
You know, obviously, you know, when you get a big crowd in that arena, it's pretty electrifying.

Q. The crowd cheering the ball girl, was that distracting?
LLEYTON HEWITT: I didn't know what was going on the first couple times it happened.

Q. They finally dismissed her.
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, then they started booing the other bloke. He was pretty shattered.

Q. That fifth set, I mean, you really had no idea what he was going to throw at you next, did you? How do you sort of try to lock yourself into a match in those circumstances?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Oh, you know, as I said, you know, I was serving first in the fifth set so it was a matter of trying to keep my nose in front. You know, even though I was up the break, you know, late in the fifth set, he still started to have a couple of breakpoint opportunities. It was a matter of trying to hold on to that break as much as possible, and I was able to do that in the end.

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